Geneva, May 3rd, 2016
On the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR) organized an interactive thematic panel discussion, on 3 May 2016, in the Geneva Press Club, to call attention to the continuous violations of human rights in UAE.
Ms. Safwa Aïssa, The executive director of the International Centre for Justice and Human Rights (ICJHR), introduced this interactive thematic panel discussion, to call attention to the continuous violations of human rights in UAE, and the importance of the right to freedom of expression and other related rights. Several cases recorded by the ICJHR were listed to highlight the situation of journalists, bloggers, activists and human rights defenders in the United Arab Emirates.
Mr. Ahmed Alnuaimi, a UAE human rights defender living abroad, testified. As a member of Al-Islah association, tried in absentia and sentenced to 15 years in prison, he is living in exile in UK. This Emirati writer and journalist focused on what has progressively happened since the petition and how the UAE authorities have managed to install fear in the Country. Several examples of cases were given to subline his testimony.
Ms. Julia Legner, theRegional Legal Officer for the Gulf Al-Karama Foundation. After introducing the Alkarama Foundation, she told about cases documented by her Organization, like Alaradi, Bin Ghaith or Jordanian Journalist cases. She recalled that openness and transparency were asked to civil society and that there was no independence of judiciary. She also reminded of the 2012 Cyber-Crime Law and the 2014 Anti-Terrorism law and their effects. She focused on proceedings in courts like in the Security Chamber where many people who came before this Chamber have been tortured and no investigation was made and where sentences were made without no right to appeal.
Mr. Ahmed Mansoor, a UAE human rights defender and the Laureate of the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders 2015 intervened via Skype. It worth noting that Mr. Mansoor was not able to join us because he still was under travel ban; so, his seat remained unoccupied. He pointed out cases highlighting how the UAE government progressively intervened to silent any dissent or revoke citizenship. Journalists, Online activists, bloggers, human rights defenders or other Internet users are jailed or under fine. Newspapers or online magazines, local press, WhatsApp, Tweeter, Facebook or Internet are shutdown or blocked. Telecoms operators attempt to spy everything the social medias users are doing, their activities.
The journalists asked questions regarding:
- The revocation of citizenship and if the people whose nationality is stripped are encouraged to leave the country?
- How objective is the reporting in some medias?
- How things are going in Turkey in the UAE perspectives?
- How the Prize given by the Martin Ennals Award impacted Mansoor’s life